The snow has fallen softly today. I awoke to the sound of gunshots, and when I trudged downstairs in a chilly blur, I found Jake with binoculars spying the drama out the window. Yep. They had taken down a deer, and we watched its last breaths from afar. We watched his buddy come and check on him, and then high-tail it out of there, just in time for the hunters to arrive. We watched them load him and then drive away to the land of venison steaks, and, my favorite, venison jerky.
Seems a good day to talk about this winter beer I received a few weeks or months back: Brrr, from Widmer Brothers.
Appearance: Clear, rich amber with an off-white head
Aroma: Minerally, sweat-infused resiny hops with a hint of graphite (no, I didn’t have a pencil in my hand)
Flavor: A solid body is cut by the bitterness, and the substantial malt presence is similarly trumped by hop character. Hop flavor/aftertaste lasts way too long for me, personally, to enjoy. Earthy, mildly minty, grassy flavors emerge as the pint warms. Allow a few minutes to pass and some sticky malt will appear on your lips, proving that this really is a beer with more dimension than the first glance, sniff or sip might indicate. I enjoyed the flavor in my mouth at about the 10 minutes-after-the-pint-was-gone stage. I’ll like it better in a few months, I’m sure.
This beer is well-made, but doesn’t speak to my heart. While there are hoppy styles in the Fireside Club (barley wine, Russian Imperial Stout), I sit back and wonder why this beer now? What makes this a winter seasonal beyond the cool packaging? I’d take this crisp bitterness and slake my summer thirst and find something deeper, with richer malt action for my fireside pleasure (old ale, Scotch ale, Belgain dark strong, and yes, even those other two styles I mentioned: barley wine and RIS).